Pilot reflects on the cause
BIGGENDEN pilot Tony Elliott has reflected on what may have caused the fatal plane crash of recreational pilot Rob Pavan at the weekend.
With wreckage over such a large area, Mr Elliott said he could visualise the pilot cruising along, maybe he had been 50 feet too low, and clipped the top of a tree and impacted the ground at high speed in what is called a Control Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accident.
“This is a common cause of an accident, just like the one on Mt Goonaneman back in 1988,” he said.
“He would have flown over some hills but not got into the real rough terrain they call tiger country that pilots bypass.”
Mr Elliott said the crash occurred around Sexton near Woolooga.
“There is a lot of clear land there as well as a lot of little farms, so he would have had a place to land if he had engine trouble and then radio for help,” he said.
“The accident was just one of those things.
“If the plane hadn’t crashed he would have been flying over the top of Biggenden 20 minutes later.”
Mr Elliott said when the aircraft model Jabiru was mentioned, people assumed the accident was engine failure.
“There were problems but the Jabiru factory has worked hard the past few years to fix those problems,” he said.
“If the pilot has engine trouble you are taught how to land safely.
“You may have damage to the plane but you normally walk away from it.”
Mr Elliott has been flying for 30 years and has had his pilot’s licence for the past few years.
He has only just come back from spending time out at Roma learning about engine failure.
“I was taken through my paces with engine failure at take-off and while flying,” he said.
He said from all reports the pilot had flown this terrain many times and no doubt was aware of all possible landings.
“He was on course, not lost or doing anything silly,” Mr Elliott said.
“Being an experienced pilot, compliancy could have been another factor.
“He was early into his flight – his mind may not have been fully switched on, may have been thinking about the party he was going to.”
MISSING PLANE: RACQ CareFlight crews joined the search for the missing light aircraft found on Monday. Recreational pilot Rob Pavan was killed in the crash.